2 die in gun attack at S. Korea em­bassy in Libya

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Gun­men killed two peo­ple and wounded a third in an attack at the South Korean em­bassy in the Libyan cap­i­tal Tripoli on Sun­day which was claimed by the Is­lamic State (IS) group.

The gun­men opened fire on the em­bassy com­pound from a pass­ing car, killing two peo­ple and wound­ing a third, a Libyan in­te­rior min­istry spokesman told AFP.

A se­cu­rity source at the lo­ca­tion said the two dead were both Libyan guards, adding that while the em­bassy had been closed for sev­eral months, South Korean of­fi­cials were con­tin­u­ing to use it.

But Mabruk Abu Za­heir, an­other of­fi­cial at the in­te­rior min­istry, told the LANA news agency that one guard and a civil­ian at the scene were killed and a sec­ond guard se­ri­ously wounded.

The for­eign min­istry in Seoul con­firmed the attack, say­ing three South Kore­ans work­ing in the em­bassy — in­clud­ing two diplo­mats — were un­hurt.

It also said two Libyan guards were among the dead.

“We do not know whether the attack tar­geted the em­bassy or the Libyan (se­cu­rity) of­fi­cers,” a min­istry of­fi­cial told AFP on con­di­tion of anonymity, adding that it was con­sid­er­ing evac­u­at­ing all its staffers from the coun­try.

An AFP pho­tog­ra­pher at the scene of the attack said a ve­hi­cle used by the se­cu­rity guards was rid­dled with bul­let holes, while it ap­peared that the main em­bassy build­ing had not been hit.

IS claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the attack on Twit­ter, ac­cord­ing to SITE In­tel­li­gence Group.

“The Sol­diers of the Caliphate in the city of Tripoli killed two of the guards at the South Korean em­bassy,” the mon­i­tor­ing group quoted IS as say­ing on Twit­ter.

The ji­hadist group, no­to­ri­ous for its bru­tal rule of large ar­eas of Iraq and Syria, has es­tab­lished branches in all three of Libya’s his­toric re­gions.

It has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for sev­eral high-pro­file at­tacks on for­eign tar­gets in Libya, in­clud­ing an as­sault in Jan­uary on the Corinthia Ho­tel in Tripoli and the be­head­ing of Egyptian Cop­tic Chris­tians.

IS has also tar­geted em­bassies in Tripoli and oil fields to kid­nap for­eign work­ers.

Last month four Filipinos, an Aus­trian and four other for­eign na­tion­als were ab­ducted in an attack on the al-Ghani oil field by IS mil­i­tants killing eight guards, the Libyan unit tasked with pro­tect­ing oil in­stal­la­tions said at the time.

In Fe­bru­ary, IS re­leased a video show­ing the be­head­ing of 21 Cop­tic Chris­tians, mostly Egyp­tians, whom the ji­hadists said they cap­tured in Libya in Jan­uary.

IS also claimed the attack on Tripoli’s luxury Corinthia Ho­tel, which is known for host­ing for­eign diplo­mats and Libyan of­fi­cials, that killed nine peo­ple in­clud­ing an Amer­i­can, a French na­tional, a South Korean and two Filipinos.

Libya has been plagued by chaos since the end of the 2011 re­volt that top­pled Moam­mar Gad­hafi, with heav­ily armed mili­tias bat­tling for con­trol of its cities and oil wealth and ri­val gov­ern­ments and par­lia­ments vy­ing for power.

The coun­try has had two gov­ern­ments and par­lia­ments since Tripoli was seized in Au­gust by the Is­lamist-backed Fajr Libya mili­tia and the in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized gov­ern­ment fled to the coun­try’s far east.

AFP

A pic­ture taken on Sun­day, April 12 shows bul­let holes in the guard post in front of the South Korean Em­bassy in the Libyan cap­i­tal of Tripoli fol­low­ing an attack by gun­men on the em­bassy com­pound.

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